Tuesday night's episode of SmackDown Live ended in dramatic fashion as Shane McMahon, upset over failing to qualify for the King of the Ring finals on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw, fired Kevin Owens for failing in his duties as a guest referee. As recapped by Cageside Seats, Owens was asked by McMahon to officiate the latter's King of the Ring semifinal match against Chad Gable in order for his $100,000 fine to be dropped. But with Gable emerging victorious, that left the villainous authority figure with no choice but to sack his longtime storyline rival. So where does "KO" go from here?
According to a report from Wrestling Inc., Owens took to Twitter early on Wednesday morning to share a cryptic post where he appeared to be hinting at his future plans. The tweet merely included a series of numbers reading "14-24-20" with no explanation added, though fans are speculating that the numbers correspond to specific letters based on their order in the alphabet, thus spelling out "N-X-T."
Per Wrestling Inc., Owens' tweet suggests that WWE's future storylines could have the former Universal Champion moving back to NXT for the first time since his main roster debut in 2015. On this week's SmackDown Live, McMahon didn't specify whether Owens was only fired from SmackDown Live or fired from both main roster brands, but the outlet noted that it's possible WWE could have the 35-year-old Canadian's on-air termination cover both Raw and SmackDown.After a standout career in the independent scene under his real name of Kevin Steen, Owens was signed to a WWE contract in 2014 and made his debut for the company as part of the NXT brand in December of that year. He was called up to the main roster just five months later and has since been a mainstay of either Raw or SmackDown, making one final appearance on NXT in August 2015.
According to a previous report from The Inquisitr, Owens made his first babyface turn as a member of the main roster in July after he cut a vicious promo on McMahon and called him out for taking up too much time on WWE television and holding back a number of underutilized performers. He was among the 16 Raw and SmackDown superstars included in the 2019 King of the Ring tournament, though as part of his feud with McMahon, he lost to Elias in controversial fashion during the first round of competition, as noted by Comic Book.